Seventies funk and soul icon Sly Stone, who has been living in a van for years, has just been awarded $5m in damages.
The 71-year-old musician sued his former manager and lawyer after being cheated out of years of royalties, according to his attorney.
The San Franciscan was the frontman of Sly And The Family Stone, the band behind the hits Everyday People, Dance To The Music, Family Affair and If You Want Me To Stay.
Stone’s attorney Nicholas Hornberger said his former manager Gerald Goldstein and attorney Glenn Stone made him sign a lot of complicated contracts he could never understand, which allowed them to steal money from him.
‘These guys, in their minds, had concocted some reason that they thought they were entitled to everything,’ Hornberger said.
Stone, whose real name is Sylvester Stewart, testified that he had not received any royalty payments between 1989 and 2009.
After two days of deliberations, a Los Angeles jury assessed damages of $2.5m against Even St Productions, $2.45m against Goldstein and $50,000 against Glenn Stone.
‘It’s a good day for Sly, it’s a good day for entertainers in general,’ Hornberger added. ‘This was an important verdict for people that are artists, entertainers, music composers, etc.
‘This is one for the good guys. These people cheated him and took all his money.’
However, Defense attorney Gregory Bodell challenged the ruling, claiming the jury did not fully understand the evidence and that they would certainly appeal it.
He claimed Stone approached his clients with the promise of creating a new album in a bid to relaunch his music career. He said they were able to renegotiate Stone’s royalty rights, helping clear millions in taxes the artist owed to the IRS.
Bodell added that Stone received as much as $9m from the company but never produced the album he promised.
Stone’s 60-year career has had many ups and downs. It was marred by decades of run-ins with the law including several drug and gun possession charges.
After being absent from the public eye for many years, he resurfaced playing Coachella as recently as 2010, but the performance was a disaster, as he stopped halfway through songs and started to ramble.
A recent documentary revealed he was living off welfare and living in a mobile home, although he later insisted he did so by choice.